Labour's 'sweat shop' interns give glowing reviews

Awataha Marae reportedly housed the 85 students.
Awataha Marae reportedly housed the 85 students. Photo credit: Facebook / Awataha Marae

The Labour Party's campaign interns are giving glowing reviews of their marae accommodation, despite reports of living in sub-standard conditions with no working shower.

The Awataha Marae, which was reportedly housing 85 overseas students brought in to help Labour's election campaign without pay, has posted a farewell video to some of the interns.

"Poroporoake - some of our manuhiri leaving tomorrow - we are gonna miss them all when they go home," an Awataha marae staff member captioned the Facebook video on Thursday morning.

The students are in New Zealand to learn about the political process while also helping the party campaign for the upcoming election.

ACT Party leader David Seymour compared the programme to "sweat shop filled with immigrant labour".

Organiser Matt McCarten stepped aside after the claims surfaced, saying the scheme was "extremely popular and quickly became oversubscribed". Labour officials have taken it over.

Labour is still trying to determine whether the scheme has broken immigration laws.

However Awataha Marae has received glowing reviews on its Facebook page, as some of the students head home.

"The staff here on the marae bring so much warmth and welcoming to every guest. Their food is superb, and the kindness they showed me in my time here can't be understated," one person posted on Friday.

"[I] had a fantastic stay," another said. "The staff were outstanding hosts and went out of their way to make sure me and my friends were looked after! I highly recommend staying here."

On Friday, the marae said 60 students still remain.